His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Mahaprabhu told that you must serve prasadam to others with affection, and if you do not have prasadam, then serve others sweet words with affection. It is written in Sri Sri Prema-vivarta and I have been telling it to you again and again. Krishna Himself served His guests. Do you know how He served them? Tell me. [Silence.] When devotees came, Krishna would clean all His guests' shoes and keep them nicely to the side.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who established many temples all over India to preach the conception of pure devotion within the Vaishnav sampradaya, said, "We have not come here to become brick-layers and carpenters—we are only messengers (vani-pion, বাণী-পিওন, lit. postman delivering messages)." Whose letters do they deliver? The Lord's letters. Vaishnavs, like postmen, go door to door spreading the message of the Lord.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur also says that you may be abused and humiliated hundreds of times (sata lanchana, sata ganjana; (শত লাঞ্চনা, শত গঞ্জনা), but you must not leave Krishna consciousness (Hari-kirtan). These are Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur's words. As soon as we leave Hari-kirtan, Maya will immediately attack us. Remember this when some bad situation comes to you. You may be abused hundreds of times, you may be humiliated hundreds of times, but you must not leave Hari-kirtan. These are not my words, these are Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur's words, listen to what he says! As soon as we leave Hari-kirtan, we will be attacked by some environment, or circumstance. How? For example, you can become sick or something else will come up—people always live worrying about the body... I never think about myself—by the will of the providence, even my medical documents have been stolen recently, and I said, "Let it be. I have no time for this."
The ultimate advice given by great souls is to chant the glories of Sri Rupa-Raghunath's teaching while strictly adhering to the mul-asraya-vigraha (the main embodiment of shelter, i.e. Gurudev). That is why I tell you all the time—when you go back to your home, chant kirtans (five kirtans in the morning, and five kirtans in the evening). Among the nine devotional practices, Mahaprabhu said Nama-sankirtan was the highest:
সাধুসঙ্গ, নামকীর্ত্তন, ভাগবতশ্রবণ ।
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
"One should associate with devotees, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.124)
তার মধ্যে সর্ব্বশ্রেষ্ঠ নাম-সঙ্কীর্ত্তন ।
tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana
"Of the practising processes, the best is Nama-sankirtan. If you chant the Holy Name without offence, you will get the wealth of divine love."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 4.71)
You must remember this. I can remember these things at sixty, but now you get people who are thirty-fifty years old, but they cannot remember anything—they still chant kirtans with the books. If you chant kirtans every day, why do you need the book then? If you cannot remember five kirtans by heart, then your life is useless.
Proclaiming kirtan to be the highest practice, our Guru-varga has also givens us Deities to be served and nurtured with faith. "How can I dress the Lord nicely? How can I take care of the Lord? What will I feed the Lord?" For example, now is chaturmasya time when there are many restrictions about not eating certain foods, but when you go collecting, you will get eggplant, you will get tomato, etc. and you must feed the Lord—if you do not want to eat it, then do not, you can give that prasadam to others. You cannot have the Lord starve if you do not eat yourself. You must offer nice things to the Lord. If you cannot take it because your health is not right, then do not take it, give it to somebody else, but you must offer nice things to the Lord. It is necessary to serve the Deity with faith.
You know, Srila Guru Maharaj (Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj) had a servitor who would cook for him, and one day Srila Guru Maharaj said, "He is cooking for me, but he is becoming fat!" That servitor would cook using a lot of oil, spices, etc., but Gurudev did not like so much oil in his food, so although he was cooking and offering food to Gurudev, it was he who was getting fat. We are like this too—we cook for the Deity, but our own stomaches are growing. If somebody hears my words, they will get upset. You will see today—those who distribute prasadam will distribute only potato and hide the paneer for themselves!...
I always tell devotees that it is necessary to keep your body fit—it is necessary to eat less and to exercise. If you grow fat, how will you dance and chant kirtan? If you dance with a fat body, you will feel weak very quickly. One time, talking about some person, Guru Maharaj said, "Oh, that person looks like a waterpot (kalsi, কলশি)!" So, do not become like waterpots...
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• These excerpts are taken from Sri
Radhastami kirtans' recording:
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